Workplace Report June 2007

Equality news

Study shows need for more specialist recruitment

While almost three-fifths of employers have people with learning disabilities on the payroll, learning disabled workers continue to struggle in the employment arena.

A survey of human resources professionals at 451 organisations carried out jointly by Personnel Today and Community Care magazines, showed that 59% of organisations employ people with learning disabilities. And over three-quarters (77%) describe the experience as positive.

The study also found that some individuals with learning disabilities were employed as consultants, analysts and managers, challenging the widely-held view that learning disabled people can only manage in menial and low-grade jobs.

However, a fifth of employers did not know whether they employed people with learning disabilities. And only 12% used specialist recruitment schemes that assist those who find conventional job applications and face-to-face interviews too challenging.

Almost nine in 10 employers said they simply did not target people with learning disabilities in recruitment.

Jo Williams, chief executive of learning disability charity Mencap, told Personnel Today that on the whole the survey provided "great news". But she was "surprised" at the high level of employers sticking only to conventional recruitment methods. "In our experience, people with learning disabilities need a lot of help to get through the job application and interview process," she said, adding that the most effective way into work "is through work experience".